The 15 million euros the Walloon government has allocated in its 2019 budget to counter the consequences of the drought that hit Belgium last summer is just 4.2% of the estimated actual losses. This is according to a statement the Walloon Agriculture Federation (FWA) issued on Saturday evening. It will decide on “actions to protest this scandalous decision” next week.
“On Saturday the FWA learned, with anger and shock, that the government has deliberately chosen to abandon the agriculture sector when it is struggling”, it said in a press release.
The Agricultural Federation, which represents several agricultural branches, estimated the total losses to be nearly 358 million euros. This figure needs to be confirmed as all the data is not available and some cultures still need to be collected.
“On Saturday the Walloon government announced it had decided to allocate 15 million euros in damages, which is 4.2% of the estimated actual losses. This is the same amount as 2017, when the actual losses were estimated to be 120 million”, the FWA says.
They said they have “listened to the government’s argument and understand it wanted to balance the budget”, but they are also questioning how farmers “will be able to keep their farms financially viable with such low damages awarded”.
“The government’s decision shows real contempt for the essential job Walloon farmers do”, the Federation says. The Federation’s main bodies will meet next week, “to determine what action to take to protest this scandalous decision”.